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Sleeping with Strangers

How the Movies Shaped Desire
Narrated by: David Thomson
Length: 17 hrs and 14 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the celebrated film critic and author of The Biographical Dictionary of Film, an original, seductive account of sexuality in the movies and of how actors and actresses on screen have fed our desire.

Film can make us want things we cannot have. But, while sometimes rapturous, the interaction of onscreen beauty and private desire speaks to a crisis in American culture, one that pits delusions of male supremacy against feminist awakening and the spirit of gay resistance. 

Combining criticism, his encyclopedic knowledge of film history, and memoir, David Thomson examines how film has found the fault lines in traditional masculinity and helped to point the way past it toward a more nuanced understanding of what it means to be a person desiring others. 

Ranging from advertising to pornography, Rudolph Valentino to Moonlight, Rock Hudson to Call Me by Your Name, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant to Phantom Thread, Thomson shows us the art and the artists we love under a new light. He illuminates the way in which film as art, entertainment, and business has been a polite cover for a kind of erotic séance. And he makes us see how the way we watch our movies is a kind of training for how we try to live.

©2019 David Thomson (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“More original insights, provocative asides and thought-inducing speculations than several volumes of a less talented writer’s efforts...Thomson, a stylist extraordinaire, has written an unaccountable and irresistible book. He reminds us that in a world of increasing sham, movies have the virtue of being instructive, occasionally enlightening shams - to embrace or ignore, as the case may be, but always full of bright dreams, dark visions, and glittering possibilities.” (Daphne Merkin, The New York Times Book Review

“Unfailingly provocative. Thomson is pretty much a walking encyclopedia of film history, and this is the kind of subject he can really sink his teeth into. Fascinating and illuminating.” (Booklist)

“Thomson deploys his encyclopedic knowledge of film so genially and dexterously that readers who are movie aficionados will want to rewatch their favorites through his eyes.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Thomson...has been called the greatest living writer about film.... [He] is at his best when he’s mining...hidden veins of meaning, noticing a detail in a familiar film that helps you see the movie in a new way.” (Dana Stevens, The Atlantic

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